The WATEC conference is now on in Tel Aviv. Let’s look at some new technologies attempting to collect energy with every flush, and to detect leaky pipes with drone planes. (Above: Gadi Hareli from Leviathan- Reuters)
Imagine being able to detect leaks and water pipes and create hydro-electric power at the same time. Two Israeli companies, Arad Technologies and Leviathan Energy appear to have done this, and the result is not only the saving of millions of gallons of lost water by finding leaks in water piping, but in creating hydro-electricity from water flow pressure in the pipes at the same time.
Founded in 2000, and covered by Ari Rabinovich in Reuters, Arad Technologies, part of the Arad Group, was created by two large agricultural Kibbutzim to find a solution to chronic water loses from leaking pipes and water mains.
Arad came up with the idea to monitor water leakage loss, from water mains by having small pilot-less drone aircraft fly about 900 meters (2,800 ft) above the group and pick up water leakage signals instantaneously from small transmitters installed in the meters of water pipes that detect water leakage.
This system has proven to be much more accurate than detectors installed in vehicles which only pick up the signals from the water meter transmitters hours later, resulting in substantial water loss.
The signals can be picked up from the small, 1 kg drones flying up to a mile away from where the signal is being sent. The leakage information is then transferred to the repair departments of both private and public water companies, who send a crew out to repair the leak.
Arad Technologies also manufactures water meters equipped with these special transmitters and recently sold more than $100 million in water meters worldwide, and finalized a contract to supply the Indian City of Mumbai with these water meters by the year 2012. These meters, combined with Arad’s “fly-by monitoring technology” is helping to save millions of gallons of lost water by discovering and repairing water pipe seepage in shorter periods of time.
Leviathan Energy, a company specializing in creating energy from hydro, wind and wave energy sources, has capitalized on creating electricity from water pressure present inside water meters such as the ones manufactured by Arad Technologies.
The company has only been operating since 2006, yet its innovations and products are already very much in demand in Africa, Europe, and Asia, especially its unique Bekatina hydroelectric turbine that contains a miniature turbine whose spinning motions created by the fast flowing water can generate up to 1 kw of electricity from water flowing through a 10 cm or 4 inch pipe.
The turbine generators can be used with piping carrying various kinds of liquids, including fresh and waste water, rain water and industrial run-off, and water flowing through drainage canals.
The national Israeli water company, Mekorot, has expressed interested in Leviathan’s pipe turbines, and is currently conducting a test on a system installed in a water pumping station outside of Jerusalem.
According to Leviathan’s Chief Operations Officer, Gadi Hareli, the turbine system will cost around $2,000 per kilowatt of electricity generated.
This amount will vary, depending on the width of the water piping that the installation will be using. Hareli believes that the system will work very well in large factories that have a lot of piping, with the electricity generated being utilized by the factory or sold back to Israel’s national electricity grid.
Judging from the favorable response that both Arad Technologies and Leviathan Energy have received on their products so far, it is evident that Israeli companies are coming up with innovations that not only help preserve water but creates energy from it as well.